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Taupo

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Taupo is a town in the central North Island of New Zealand. It lies at the northern end of Lake Taupo, at its outlet into the Waikato River.

Understand[edit]

  • i-SITE Taupo, Tongariro St, +64 7 376-0027 (toll free: 0800 525 382, ), [1]. Daily 08:00-16:00. This official Visitor Information Centre has extensive local knowledge and can make most bookings expeditiously.  edit

Climate[edit]

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Taupo Airport is served by Air New Zealand. There are daily flights from Auckland and Wellington. It also provides for private jets and other aircraft and is the busiest parachute drop zone in New Zealand. Scenic flights and skydiving are a popular attraction for the region.

By bus[edit]

Intercity, Newmans and Nakedbus offer coach services to Taupo several times a day from throughout the North Island.

Adventure travel networks such as Kiwi Experience, Magic Bus, Stray and Contiki also visit Taupo (daily in summer).

By car[edit]

Approximate drive times are:

  • Auckland - 4h
  • Hamilton - 2h
  • Rotorua - 1h
  • Napier - 2h
  • Wellington - 5h

Allow additional time over the Christmas/New Year period and on public holidays as highway congestion can add greatly to travel times.

Get around[edit]

Taupo's urban centre is very compact and it is within easy walking distance of most Hotels, Motels and Hostels as are a number of the more popular activities. If you wish to explore further or perhaps feel tired there are several car rental companies and the popular "Hot Bus" shuttle which has regular trips to the most popular tourist sites. In addition, most activity operators offer a free pick up, drop off service. It is also possible to hire push bikes and motor scooters. Accommodation providers will be able to assist with all transport arrangements.

Shuttle[edit]

Local Tours[edit]

Taxi[edit]

  • Taupo Taxis – Gascoigne St - +64 7 378 5100
  • Top Cabs – Tuwharetoa St - +64 7 378 9250
  • Go Cabs – 67 Heu Heu St - +64 7 378 5886 [4]
  • London Taxi Cab (Tours Only) - 0800 855 466

Rental Cars[edit]

  • Avis Rent A Car - +64 7 378 6305
  • Backpackers Car Rentals - +64 7 376 9209
  • Custom Rentals - +64 7 378 0440
  • First Choice Rental Cars / Rent A Dent - +64 7 378 2740
  • Hertz Rental Cars - +64 7 378 8056
  • Pegasus Rental Cars - +64 7 377 0666

See[edit][add listing]

There are many sights of interest in the Taupo region, most of which are free of charge, and you should set a day aside to check out some of the sights. To get around the sights transport is a must - a mountain bike at the very least for people with some fitness or perhaps a rental car or shuttle for those who prefer to relax while on holiday.

  • Aratiatia Dam – The first dam in the Waikato Hydro power scheme. The gates are opened daily at 10AM, 12PM, 2PM and 4PM (10, 12 & 2 during winter) which causes the spectacular recreation of the Aratiatia Rapids.
  • Huka Falls – New Zealand’s most visited natural attraction located just to the north of town on the Waikato river. New Zealand’s largest river is forced between a narrow split in the bedrock. Quite impressive with flows often exceeding 220,000 litres per second.
  • Kinloch – A pretty lakeside village 15 minutes drive west of Taupo.
  • Lake Taupo Museum and Art Gallery - A small museum located near the centre of town behind the Great Lake Centre on Story Place. Contains exhibits on the Maori, Volcanic and early European history of Taupo. A Maori meeting house is also recreated within the building and exhibitions of art by local and New Zealand artists are ongoing. The "Ora" garden which won the 2004 Chelsea Flower Show has recently been added in a specially created outside area.
    • Lake Taupo Museum, Story Place, +64 7 376 0413 [5]
  • Lions Walk – A walkway starting in town and heading south for about 5 miles following the lake edge. Paved in places through the efforts of local service clubs.
  • Mount Tauhara – The mountain sitting on the eastern edge of town can be climbed fairly easily (get directions from your accommodation) and the views from the top on a clear day are remarkable, take your camera.
  • Waipahihi Botanical Reserve – Located in the suburbs has both vehicle and walking tracks through forest and gardens. Also boasts one of the best vantage points of the lake and mountains of the Tongariro National Park.
  • Craters of the Moon – An easy 45min/2.75km walk through an active and ever changing geothermal wonderland.
  • Volcanic Activity Centre, Karetoto Road, +64 7 374 8375 [6]. Just north of town in the Wairakei Tourist Park is the Volcanic Activity Centre which provides an insight into the Taupo Volcanic Zone. There are many intercative displays and educational tours through to university level can be arranged.

Do[edit][add listing]

There is no shortage of activities on offer in Taupo, be it an adrenaline rush or the more sedate - there is something for everyone! From the ever popular Bungy to Taupo being internationally known as a mecca for Skydiving, to Jet Boating and even fishing for the father who loves the catch even Scenic Flights to the even places as simple to Taupo's AC Baths and our one and only Starlight Cinema!

Bungy jumping[edit]

Taupo Bungy operates not far from the town centre at what is known as the Hell's Gate section of the Waikato River. The location is quite scenic and utilises a custom-built cantilever platform protruding from a cliff face over the river. There is a cafe and several good vantage points. They are open 7 days a week and are endorsed by the New Zealand Safety Standards Authority.

  • Taupo Bungy, 202 Spa Road, +64 7 377 1135, [7]. FREEPHONE: 0800 888 408 (New Zealand Only) Solo Bungy Jump $109 - Tandem Bungy Jump $218.  edit

Jet boating[edit]

With New Zealand's largest river, the Waikato, flowing from Lake Taupo there is little wonder that jet boating is available and there are three operators providing trips on various sections of the river. Jet boating is a very New Zealand activity and well worth the effort.

  • Huka Falls Jet, Karetoto Rd, Wairakei Tourist Park, Taupo., +64 7 374 8572 (, fax: +64 7 374 8573), [8]. Adult $95 - Child $55.  edit
  • Rapids Jet, Rapids Road, Aratiatia, +64 7 378 5828 (, fax: +64 7 378 3828), [9]. Office Hours, Summer 9AM-5PM - Winter 10AM-4PM. Children 5yrs and over, life & spray jackets are provided. Adults $85 - Children $45.  edit
  • NZ River Jet, Golden Springs, Reporoa, +67 7 333 7111, [10].  edit

Skydiving[edit]

Taupo's natural scenery with its lake, forests and volcanic backdrop make for an excellent skydive location. Taupo can safely be described as New Zealand's skydive Mecca as people flock here to do a jump at the cheapest prices in the country with a saftey record unbeaten by any other skydive company in the world. There are three companies operating from Taupo Airport: Freefall, Skydive Taupo and Taupo Tandem Skydiving. Each company offers tandem skydives from both 12,000 and 15,000 feet above the ground and also provide various DVD and photo options to capture the moment. Freefall and Taupo Tandem can also cater for experienced solo jumpers and a skydive school also operates over the summer months which offers training to beginners.

Cruising/sailing[edit]

With a surface area of approximately 616 square kilometers, Lake Taupo is the focal point for the town and its people and to truly appreciate it you really need to head out on it. There are many hidden bays and some spectacular views to be had from on the water. Well worth a look are the large Maori rock carvings which can only be accessed by water.

The options available range from large, powered charter boats to kayaks. The Barbary, a 1926 racing yacht with an interesting history, is quite popular and a good option for a sunny day.

  • The Barbary, Taupo Boat Harbour, +64 7 378 5879, [13]. (info@sailbarbary.com)  edit
  • Chris Jolly Outdoors, (Taupo Boat Harbour), +64 7 378 0623, [14].  edit
  • Ernest Kemp Cruises, (Taupo Boat Harbour), +64 7 378 9222.  edit
  • The Junk, (Taupo Boat Harbour), +64 7 377 1164, [15].  edit
  • Kayaking Kiwi, 0800 35 34 35, [16].  edit
  • Taupo Launchmans Association, +64 7 378 3444, [17].  edit
  • Two Mile Bay Sailing Centre, +64 274 967 350, [18].  edit

Chartered & Fly Fishing[edit]

Lake Taupo itself is widely considered to be the Rainbow Trout capitol of the world and the lake's tributaries also contain some fine Brown Trout. As a result, there are numerous charter and guiding companies which offer both lake and river fishing expeditions. The easiest way to find and book such trips is via local fishing stores and booking centres.

Chartered Trout Fishing[edit]

  • Trout Catching (Chartered trout fishing service), +64 7 377 2039 (, fax: +64 7 378 0107). Mobile: +64 7 27 485 5391 $85 per hour - 2hr minimum.  edit
  • K2 Charters (Chartered trout fishing), 2/36 Motutaiko St, Taupo (Berth 6, Lake Taupo Boat Habour (Ferry Road).), NZ Freephone: 0800 34 74 52 (FISHK2) (, fax: +64 7 376 7452), [19]. $95/hour, 2hrs minimum.  edit
  • Taupo Lake Adventures (Chartered trout fishing/Sightseeing), 75B Kaimanawa Street, Taupo, +64 7 378 7217 - Mobile: +64 27 471 7650 (, fax: +64 7 378 7278), [20].  edit
  • Windsor Charters (Trout Fishing - Scenic Tours), Boat +64 27 272 9856, After Hours: +64 7 378 8738 (), [21].  edit
  • Lake Taupo Charter Boats NZ (Fishing & Cruising), +64 7 378 3444 (fax: +64 7 377 2926).  edit
  • Fish Lake Taupo Charters (Shoreline Safaris) (Trout Fishing & Sightseeing), 29 Tamatea Rd, Taupo, +64 27 477 6279 - AH: +64 7 378 2169 (, fax: +64 7 377 2926).  edit
  • White Striker Charters (Chartered Trout Fishing), 15 Matua Road, File Mile Bay, RD2, +64 7 378 2736 (, fax: +64 7 378 2734), [22]. $100-$135 per hour - 2 hours minimum.  edit
  • Te Moana Charters (Chartered Trout Fishing), Phone: +64 7 378 4839 - Mob: +64 27 497 7379 (, fax: +64 7 378 5511), [23].  edit

Fly Fishing[edit]

Fishing Stores[edit]

  • Fly & Gun Shop, 27 Gascoigne Street, +64 7 378 4449
  • Taupo Launchmans Association, Taupo Boat Harbour, +64 7 378 3444, [28].
  • Taupo Rod & Tackle, 7 Tongariro Street, +64 7 378 5337. [29]
  • Greenstone Fishing, 147 Tongariro Street, +64 7 378 3714.

Scenic flights[edit]

With the natural beauty of Taupo and its surrounds a scenic flight is well worth considering. There are a number of companies offering flights ranging from 15 minutes to several hours over the town, lake, mountains and volcanic areas. Both helicopter and fixed wing flights are available.

Tramping/Walking[edit]

There are many opportunities to walk in and around Taupo. Forest, mountains, guided walks and unguided.

Adventure Packages[edit]

Swimming & Sauna[edit]

  • AC Baths, Off Spa Road (Take Spa Road, past Taupo Bungy), +64 7 376 0350 (, fax: +64 7 376 0359), [35]. 6AM-9PM 7days.  edit
  • Taupo Hot Springs Spa (DeBretts), Napier Taupo Highway, +64 7 377 6502 (, fax: +64 7 377 6501), [36]. 7.30AM-9PM 7days.  edit
  • Taupo Thermal Park, County Ave (From the Taupo Bungy, follow Spa Rd and turn left after 200 m). Find the bridge with the hot river that merges with the cold river. free of charge.  edit

Cinema[edit]

  • Starlight Cinema Centre, Starlight Arcade, Horomatangi St, +64 7 377 1085 (, fax: +64 7 377 1081), [37]. Info Line +64 7 378 7515, All Cinemas Air conditioned & Wheelchair Accessible.  edit

Family & Children[edit]

  • Mind Junction (Family Fun), (Corner of Palmer Mill Rd and SH5), +64 7 377 6555 (), [38]. Open 7days 10AM-4PM.  edit
  • Topgun Paintball, +64 7 377 6404 (), [39]. $35/person.  edit
  • Lilliput Farm (Fun & Animal Park), 136 Link Rd (10m from Taupo - SH1 to Hamilton, Link Rd is first on the left, 4km from the Waireki turn off.), +64 7 378 2114 (, fax: +64 7 378 2216), [40]. Weekdays 10AM-2PM, Weekends & Public Holidays 10AM-4PM. Adults $8, Children 2-15yrs $5, Family Pass (2Adults + 2Child) $22..  edit
  • Taupo Horse Treks, [41]. Open 7days!. Bookings Essential!  edit

Geothermal activity[edit]

Being in the heart of the Taupo Volcanic Zone you don't have to travel far to encounter geothermal activity and there are several examples of this around Taupo, though not as heavily marketed or developed as those in nearby Rotorua they still provide a fascinating insight into the fragility of our planet.

Craters of the Moon is located only a few minutes drive north of town on highway 1 and only costs $5 to visit. It provides an other worldly atmosphere and is easy to walk around.

Ten minutes north of town also on highway 1 the Wairakei steam field can be accessed by car and provides an insight into the tapping of the earths heat for power generation with this field feeding the 2nd largest geothermal power station in the world.

25 minutes north you can find "The Hidden Valley" of Orakei Korako which contains geysers, boiling mud pools, hot springs and large silica terraces and also the majestic Ruatapu Caves. Entry charges apply.

  • Orakei Korako, Tutukau Road, +64 7 378 3131, [42].

Maori Culture[edit]

Join an Eco-Cultural Tour. Your guide will take you through the magnificent Pureora Forest Park and explain how the Maori people utilised the forest resources in their daily lives. You will learn to weave/carve a Taonga (special gift) and to "Hongi" (traditional Maori greeting/farewell) [43]

Events[edit]

Over recent years the event industry in Taupo has been thriving. A combination of attractive venues and a supportive community have been key to this growth. Taupo now hosts a number of major international and national events, including:

  • Taupo Events (EventFinder.co.nz), [44]. Taupo has a lot more events than just these, although these are main events - they aren't the only ones. This is a list of all of the current events happening right now, tomorrow and next week!  edit
  • A1 Grand Prix, [45]. The world cup of motor sport. The largest international motor event to be held in New Zealand. The New Zealand round of the series is held at the Taupo Motor Sport Park. [46] The 2008 round is being held over January 18-20.
  • Great Lake Cycle Challenge, [47]. Started in 1977 with just 30 riders this 160km road cycle around Lake Taupo now attracts over 10,000 entrants every year. It is also a round of the prestigious UCI Golden Bike Series. The last Saturday in November is when the event takes place.
  • Ironman New Zealand, [48]. Taupo has been home to this event since 1999. Ironman New Zealand is the oldest event outside of the world championships in Hawaii. It is held on the first Saturday in March each year.
  • Levene Half Marathon, [49]. New Zealands largest half marathon and also the biggest in the southern hemisphere, follows the shore of Lake Taupo for most of the course. Held in early August every year.
  • Oxfam Trailwalker, [50]. The world's greatest team challenge to overcome poverty and injustice offers you a rewarding physical endeavour, a fun experience to share with friends and colleagues and the chance to do something amazing for yourself and others.

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Riverside Market (Taupos Local Marketplace), Riverside Park, Contact Sue, +64 21 930 020. Saturdays 10AM-1PM. Seasonal Fruits & Veges, Cakes & Biscuits, Apparel, Lavender Products, Free Range Eggs, Jewellery, Fresh Baked Bread, Curios & Collectables, Preserves, Arts & Craft, Books & Flowers. Also Car Boot Sale - First Saturday of every month. (-38.6836003,176.0694695) edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

Cafes[edit]

  • BodyFuel Cafe (Licenced Cafe/Restaurant), 67 Tongariro St, Taupo (on SH1 opposite Information Centre), +64 7 378 9555 (, fax: +64 7 378 9550). Open 7:30AM-5:30PM 7days.  edit
  • The Clubhouse (Bar/Restaurant), 10 Roberts St, +64 7 378 2534.  edit
  • Replete (Cafe/Restaurant), 45 Heu Heu St, Taupo, +64 7 378 0606 (, fax: +64 7 378 7896), [51]. M-F, 7:45AM-5PM - Sa,Su 8:30AM-Late afternoon.  edit

Dining[edit]

Casual[edit]

  • Plateau, 64 Tuwharetoa St, +64 7 377 2425.  edit
  • Ploughmans, 43-45 Charles Cres, +64 7 377 3422.  edit
  • SOB, 67 Heu Heu St, +64 7 377 0646.  edit
  • Yama, +64 7 376 5759.  edit

Exclusive[edit]

Drink[edit][add listing]

Non-Alcoholic[edit]

  • Tank Juice Bar, 3 Horomatangi Street (Directly next door to Soundz Music on the corner!), +64 7 378 1064, [52]. Situated in Taupo township - fantastic, refreshing and thirst quenching juices.  edit

Alcoholic[edit]

  • Bond Lounge Bar, 40 Tuwharetoa St, +64 7 377 2434, [53].  edit
  • Finn MacCuhals (Irish Pub), Tuwharetoa St, +64 7 378 6165, [54].  edit
  • Kazbar (Bar and gaming lounge), 22 Tuwharetoa St, +64 7 378 8542.  edit
  • Mulligan's Public House (Irish/backpackers Bar), 17 Tongariro St, +64 7 376 9100.  edit
  • Pitch (Sports Bar), 38-40 Tuwharetoa St, +64 7 378 3552.  edit
  • Plateau, 64 Tuwharetoa St, +64 7 377 2425, [55].  edit
  • S.O.B. (Mexican bar/restaurant), 67 Heu Heu St, +64 7 377 0646.  edit
  • The Clubhouse (Bar/restaurant), 10 Roberts St, +64 7 378 2534.  edit
  • The Shed (Bar/restaurant), 18 Tuwharetoa St, +64 7 376 5393, [56].  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Holiday parks[edit]

  • All Seasons Holiday Park, 16 Rangatira St, +64 7 378 4272 (fax: +64 7 378 1272), [57]. Reservations Freephone (NZ only) 0800 777 272  edit
  • De Bretts Spa Resort, 103 Napier-Taupo Highway, +64 7 378 8559, [58]. Skype[taupo.debretts]  edit
  • Great Lake Holiday Park, 406 Acacia Bay Road, +64 7 378 5159 (, fax: +64 7 377 2541), [59].  edit
  • Lake Taupo Top 10 Holiday Resort, 28 Centennial Drive, +64 7 378 6860 (, fax: +64 7 377 4922), [60]. Reservations Freephone: 0800 332 121  edit



Backpackers[edit]

  • Action Down Under YHA, 56 Kaimanawa St (Cnr Tamamutu & Kaimaniwa Sts), +64 7 378 3311 (fax: +64 7 378 9612), [61]. checkin: Reception Hours: Summer 7.30AM-9PM; checkout: Check out time: 10AM.  edit
  • Berkenhoff Lodge, 75 Scannell St, +64 7 378 4909.  edit
  • Burkes Lodge & Backpackers, 69 Spa road, +64 7 378 9292 (, fax: +647 378 9292), [62].  edit
  • Go Global Central Backpackers, (Cnr Tuwharetoa & Tongariro Sts), +64 7 377 0044 (, fax: +64 377 0059), [63]. NZ Freephone: 0800 4645 6225  edit
  • Rainbow Lodge Backpackers Retreat, 99 Titiraupenga St, +64 7 378 5754 (), [64].  edit
  • Silver Fern Lodge, (Cnr Tamamutu & Kaimaniwa Sts), +64 7 377 4929, [65].  edit
  • Sunset Lodge (info@sunsetlodgetaupo.co.nz), 27 Tremaine Ave, +64 7 378 5962, [66].  edit
  • Taupo Urban Retreat, 65 Heu Heu St, Taupo, +64 7 378 6124, [67]. Accommodation options include double, twin and dormitory styles - some with en-suite, others with shared bathrooms. Small Bar onsite, cheap drinks good before heading into town $22 - $75 (depends on room type).  edit
  • Tiki Lodge, 104 Tuwharetoa St, +64 7 377 4545, [68].  edit

Motels[edit]

  • The Reef Resort, 219 Lake Terrace, +64 7 378 5115 (, fax: +64 7 378 4540), [69]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 10:00. Reservations Phone +64 7 378 5115  edit
  • Cheveron Motel, 102 Tamamutu St, +64 7 378 7360 (, fax: +64 7 377 0612), [70]. Reservations (NZ only) 0800 243 876.  edit
  • Motle Taupo, 50 Wharewaka Road, +64 7 378 5992.  edit

Hotels[edit]

  • Caboose Lodge, 100-102 Lake Terrace, +64 7 376 0116, [71].
  • Huka Village, Huka Falls Road, +64 7 07 376 0260 [72].
  • Mainstay Lakeland Resort, 282 Lake Terrace, +64 7 378 3893, [73].
  • Millennium Hotel & Resort Manuel's Taupo, 243 Lake Terrace, +64 7 378 5110 ,[74].
  • Suncourt Motor Hotel & Conference Centre, Northcroft Street, +64 7 378 8265, [75].
  • Terraces Hotel, 80-100 Napier-Taupo Highway, +64 7 378 7080, [76]
  • The Cove, 213 Lake Terrace, +64 7 378 7599 [77].
  • Wairakei Resort, SH 1, Wairakei - +64 7 374 8021 [78].

Boutique accommodation/lodges[edit]

  • Huka Lodge, Huka Falls Road, +64 7 378 5791, [79].
  • Chalet Eiger, Acacia Bay, +64 7 378 7224, [80].
  • Lake Taupo Lodge, 41 Mapara Road, +64 7 378 7386, [81].
  • Tauhara Sunrise Lodge, 38 Mapara Road, +64 7 376 8555.
  • Te Kowhai Landing , 325 Lake Terrace, +64 275 424 202, [82].
  • The Pillars, 7 Deborah Rise, +64 7 378 1512, [83].
  • Te Moenga Lodge, Te Moenga Park, +64 7 378 0437, [84].
  • The Point Villas, Rangatira Point, +64 7 579 3152, [85].
  • Acacia Waters, 27 Te Urunga Place, Acacia Bay, +64 7 3771539, [86].
  • Aultmore Hollow, 615 River Road, Broadlands Taupo, +64 7 3337983, [87].

Serviced Apartments[edit]

  • Quest Serviced Apartments, 9 Tui Street Taupo North Island 2730, +64 (0)7 378 7487, [88]. Accommodation located fifty metres from the lake front, one kilometre south of the main shopping precinct. Comprises 16 Superior 4.5 Star rated 2 and 3 bedroom apartments, suitable for short and long term stays and 16 refurbished smaller studio studio, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments.  edit

Contact[edit]

Internet Access[edit]

Accessing the Internet is simple and easy, with Internet Cafes and Wireless Hotspots available in the City Centre, Motels & Restaurants, Bars or Clubs!

Available Wireless Hotspots[edit]

Wireless Hotspots available within numerous area's or that cover a large area.

TelecomNZ Wireless Hotspots[edit]

TelecomNZ have integrated Wireless Hotspots into their newer model phone boxes, allowing customers to travel around and receive 1GB Data per day.

  • Gascoigne St - outside (now closed) Intercity Bus Terminal, Taupo.
  • Horomatangi St cnr Tongariro St - outside ASB Bank, Taupo.
  • 42 Horomatangi St - outside NZ Post, Taupo.
  • '10 Horomatangi St - outside Shirley's Shoe Shop, Taupo.

Get out[edit]

Taupo can be used as a base to see the surrounding country, including Turangi, Tongariro National Park, Mount Ruapehu and Waiouru and the western bays.



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